Be sure to see the Local Attractions addon by Mom O’Treble at the very bottom of this review below the poll.
This review coming from a “grades” perspective. This is the second time that we attended this feis. The Southern Tier Feis is held in Binghamton, NY on the campus of Broome County Community College. It was a smaller feis with a little less than 500 entrants. They used Feisworx, which I love for speed of results at the venue and personal results.
The Feis was held in an ice hockey arena, without the ice of course! Seating was in the stands with all of the stages facing the seats, which provided for good viewing as a spectator and the hockey glass was clean for ease of viewing. There was some true camping on one end of the floor but really no need to bring a whole camp set-up as there was ample seating in the seats. Probably a good secret and need to get there early – but if deciding to camp, I would choose the penalty boxes. There was not spectator seating at the stages, only chairs were for the dancers; this eliminated traffic completely as people just moved in out as their dancer danced. Parking was free and ample- maybe a little walk if you arrived late.
There were 5 stages total- there were 3 grades stages, 1 stage for PC and 1 stage for OC. The grades stages seemed small though dancing was 2 at a time. I am sure they were regulation size but probably the minimum size. Saw a few falls on the champ stage. Did not seeing any stage maintenance but I could have missed it throughout the day. They were plywood but the PC stage seemed to have either a marley or shower pan liner covering.
They had an unsupervised dress rack and people also hung the dresses around the railings in the seating area.
Tight area for champ awards presentation- right at the front door. This was really the only bottle neck area when awards were going on also because it was near the food service. Venue was clean, except bathrooms were a little trashed at the end of the day.
Daughter dance 5 dances and had 4 different judges. Received comments from half of the judges. Judges given a half hour lunch break and dancing started timely after the break. Nice of one judge to stop the dancing after some issue and permitted the two-some to go to the end of the line and have a do-over, that was in a PW dance.
There was one musician per stage and DD good here it well. Stages were placed well apart and did not notice sound bleeding over from other stages.
This is where things really fell down in satisfaction. My advice- bring your own and make trips to the car or go to one of the fast food restaurants close by and bring it back. The food service was thru a concession stand area at the time we were getting only fries at the lunch break, we waited almost 25 minutes with only about 10 people in front of us (I would not have waited but DD had a bit of an injury and needed something to cheer her up!). They had 2 people working and one had left the stand to get supplies, which left 1 person to take orders, make the food on the grill and run the register. Felt bad for the man but come on- plan accordingly and they run the food service for a living. Fry oil was dirty as the fries came out with black flecks on them- thought it was pepper but when ask, said “oh that is just from the oil”. Prices were not bad and selections were good you could make it through the line and get waited on.
I only noticed 2 vendors but vendors well stocked with the necessities, Head for the World and Rutherford shoes.
It was a Feisworx feis- what can I say except results were fast! Soon after posting at the venue, results were on Feisworx site shortly after posting at the venue. Results were computer print and with competitor name. They were posted on the glass of the rink in a corner were traffic flow did not seem to be a problem, but when scores go up quickly, you don’t have people just hanging around waiting causing crowd problems.
Grade level awards were nice. Good trophies for 1st-3rd, I think they were given to at least AB, Nov and PW (not sure about beginners), medals for the lower placements. The distribution of awards was thru a computer and were efficiently handed out.
The overall flow of the day was good. They stage schedule indicated start times and they were spot on. Lunch was kept to ½ hour and dancing started promptly after lunch. Grades stages were wrapping up around 2pm.
I give the feis an overall score of 9/10. The food was the only sour point and maybe the committee will work with facility to improve that next year.
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It seems that hotel choices are not anything to get excited about in this area. There is a Fairfield Inn and Comfort Inn very close. We stayed at the Comfort Inn which was an older building but decently maintained and you could not beat the proximity to the venue. Starbucks (which is always a must for me in the AM when at a feis to get me thru the day!) was right across the street- bonus. So this close proximity allowed for a little more sleeping in especially because the feis started at 9am. Easy travel in and out either on I-81 or from the Southern Tier Expressway.
If you are willing to stay just 5-7 miles away from the feis, there are plenty of other hotel choices, including several newer hotels in Vestal. You won’t get them for the feis rate but if you are looking for a hotel that offers more than a place to rest your head and require certain amenities, check out the hotels near Binghamton University in Vestal instead.